VCU Summer Camp in Philosophy

A day camp for high school students interested in asking big questions, learning about new perspectives and seeing the world in a new way

The camp is organized and led by faculty members from VCU’s Department of Philosophy, and is held in person at VCU’s beautiful Richmond campus.

Students will spend each day at camp digging into a diverse array of engaging activities that introduce them to the exciting world of philosophy. Students will play games, perform theatrical dialogues, create and share presentations, pose questions to expert guest speakers, race around VCU’s campus on a scavenger hunt, and make lifelong friends in deep conversations about timeless questions.

Theme: Art and Beauty

paint brushes and paint

Art enriches our lives. Many people find the creation and enjoyment of art to be both satisfying and meaningful. But, when we step back from enjoying art, we might discover that we don’t really understand art at all. That’s because art raises a number of tricky philosophical questions, like the following ones:

  • What counts as a work of art, and what doesn’t?
  • Are any Instagram posts art? Are all Instagram posts art?
  • Can a morally bad person be a good artist? Can a morally objectionable work of art be beautiful?
  • Can an author be mistaken about what happens in the fictional story she’s written?
  • Are there any objective facts about what’s beautiful and what’s not?

In 2023, the VCU Summer Camp in Philosophy will be devoted to questions like these ones–questions, that is, about art and beauty. Join us for an unforgettable week of inquiry, teamwork, and fun; no artistic skill required!


VCU’s Summer Camp in Philosophy is open to any student who will be in high school (grades 9-12) in the 2023-24 school year or who was in high school in the 2022-23 school year. This usually means that eligible students will be between 14 and 19 years old. The camp organizers are committed to making the program available to all eligible students. Students with disabilities are welcome and encouraged to apply.


Tuition is $100 per student and covers all the costs of instruction, materials and daily lunch. We believe financial need should not prevent any student from attending camp. Need-based financial aid, in the form of full scholarships, is available. Students can declare financial need in their online application form.


Our application deadline for summer 2023 (April 17th) has now passed, and we are no longer accepting new applicants for this year's camp. We hope to see you in 2024!


James Fritz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

‘It’s a way of thinking’: VCU summer camp opens high school students’ eyes to philosophy

VCU News, 8/1/22

The VCU Summer Camp in Philosophy, held for the first time this year, saw high school students prepare presentations on ethics and moral philosophy around abortion, cloning, euthanasia, legalization of drugs, racism and more.

High school students at the V.C.U. Summer Camp in Philosophy participate in a mock trial at the Academic Learning Commons at V.C.U.